I send out an email newsletter each month, and I thought it might be helpful to those of you who don’t yet send a newsletter or are contemplating taking on such a project, to post some tips. Also, for those of you that do send newsletters, you may find some new ideas to help increase your subscriber rate and boost their enthusiasm. So here goes:
-I’ve posted a screen grab of one of my newsletters here to give you an idea of what I do. If you visit my website, www.AmyGuidry.com, you’ll see that I have kept the overall look the same as the website- color, style, logo, etc. This aids your branding campaign in that the visuals are associated with you and identify you in the minds of others.
-Frequency is up to you and you may want to experiment with this depending on how much you produce/exhibit/etc. I like once a month with a concise list of everything I have going on.
-Use a compelling subject heading, not too long- maybe 6 words or less. I like to focus on my “big” news to catch their attention.
-Photos are a must even if you are only discussing exhibits or articles. People are visual creatures so include photos of your new work, or studio shots, exhibition opening photos, installation photos, etc. If you are published in a magazine, include photos of that as well. Same goes for awards or certificates.
-Text should be concise and interesting. Try not to just state facts, which can be hard to do if you are announcing an exhibit but add some points of interest or amusing anecdotes wherever possible.
-Put your biggest news at the top of the newsletter. Unfortunately, you’ll have some readers that just skim through your news, so you’ll need to get their attention first thing.
-Add your other links at the bottom of the newsletter. If you are on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc.- include those links. Your most interested fans will scroll all the way down to see them. Otherwise, you don’t want to distract your readers and lead them away from the newsletter too quickly.
-Limit outbound links to 3 or less. If you give too many links for people to visit, you’ll overwhelm them and they probably won’t go to any.
-Key time to send? According to marketing experts and my own personal experience, Tuesday-Thursday are your best bet. Send during the day, anywhere between 10am Pacific time to 3pm. I think I get more response in the afternoon, but again, try this out yourself and chart what gets you the most response. Monday is a no-no because people are bombarded with new email that built up over the weekend, whether they are at home or at work. Friday-Sunday, people are out enjoying the weekend.
-Have a signup page for your newsletters on your website. Let people know what they will be receiving and how often.
-Include a link to your newsletter signup page in all your correspondence emails.
I’ve recently finished another addition to the In Our Veins series! My painting “Fleeting” is now online- it is an acrylic on canvas, 8″ wide by 10″ high. Since the series deals with the life cycle and our role as well as impact on it, I thought this piece would be fitting given it is an example of the brevity of life. The moth plays an integral part since I have always had an interest in butterflies and moths and how short their life span can be (depending on the species). They are so delicate and beautiful, and only on this earth for such a short while. Which really is a metaphor for life in general- though many of us take it for granted and feel invincible. The pregnant woman is no one in particular (in reality there was no model- she is completely made up), she is a mother or will be, she is nature, she is Mother Earth, she is giving life, while the moth represents life.
I have posted the progression of this painting from start to finish- sorry for the cruddy photos- all were taken by me except the final one (which is why it was taken in good lighting on the proper setting and the colors look more accurate). View a larger version of the finished piece online at http://www.amyguidry.com/fleeting.html.
I recently posted a few photos of work I did as a kid up through high school. Funny, it never occurred to me that someone would be interested in adding one to their art collection…I guess because even though they are art, somehow I only considered work done during my “professional” years to be of interest. That is until someone expressed interest. I was also surprised by the enthusiasm people had over these once I posted them to my Facebook “Fan Page.” Even though they were all pieces I did on my own time, they were still part of my “sketchbook” assignments (even though they were not just simple sketches) which I had to turn in weekly to show that I was working on my art. This was standard for those in the Talented Art Program. Every week I would show what I worked on, usually adding more to the same drawing, and wait for approval. In some ways, it’s not all that different from how things are today. So I think this serves as a great reminder that we shouldn’t be so critical of our own work- on the whole, if it’s good, it’s good, no matter how old it is, no matter the imperfections that we think we see, no matter how many times we had to start over. No one else sees that, they just see a great work of art.
Kathy Rodriguez wrote a great review of the “Artists Who Wish They Were Dead II” exhibit for the NOLA Defender. The show is up now through September 3rd at Barrister’s Gallery (where you can see my work) and UNO St. Claude Gallery- both on St. Claude in New Orleans. You can read the article at this direct link: http://www.noladefender.com/content/art-mortality.
My work is currently on exhibit in “Artists Who Wish They Were Dead II” at Barrister’s Gallery in New Orleans. The show was guest-curated by artist Dan Tague and is up now through September 3rd. I attended the opening reception the other night at Barrister’s which was held in conjunction with UNO St. Claude Gallery. If you would like to view my work in person, it is at Barrister’s Gallery now through September 3rd. More photos will be added soon at http://www.amyguidry.com/events.html.
I just posted some work from my childhood and teen years on my Facebook Fan Page. I thought it would be fun to share on here as well. I have been digging up older work for future projects- videos, mainly- and came across some fun pieces. Of course I then remembered some pieces that I haven’t seen and don’t actually know what became of them. As a kid, I gave away drawings, plus I think teachers ended up with some. So I have some more digging to do apparently. Here are a few of my finds (click on the photo to see the entire image):
And if you’d like to see what I’ve been up to lately, visit my website at www.AmyGuidry.com.
If you follow my Facebook page, you may know some of this news already, but I haven’t posted about it here yet. One of my paintings was used for the filming of a book-turned-movie titled “When Angels Sing.” The painting that will be featured is “Wisdom” from my “New Realm” series, which you can view here: www.AmyGuidry.com/Wisdom.html. I’m extremely honored to have my work included in this film.
“When Angels Sing” is based on the book by Turk Pipkin and is directed by Tim McCanlies. The film will star Connie Britton, Harry Connick Jr., Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Turk Pipkin, Frankie Jonas, Chandler Canterbury, and Fionnula Flanagan. Musician appearances include Sara Hickman and the Jonas Brothers. Filming has already wrapped up and the movie is scheduled to be out this holiday season 2011.
Goals- simple title, and seems like such a simple concept, but there’s so much more there that most people don’t realize. We take them for granted, even I do sometimes despite myself. I was at a reception the other day for a fellow artist and started talking about how I made my goals and strategized in order to become a full-time artist. One person in the conversation said that I should look into giving courses on goal attainment because it’s a “big” business. That latter part may be true, but I will stick with my art. However, I thought it would be a great post to help out those in the arts, whether they are new or old to it. So here goes:
– First, make a list of the goals you’d like to achieve. Brainstorm and write down any and all goals. This can apply to all areas of your life, but let’s stick with your art career. Write whatever you want to achieve, desire, dream, etc.
– Cull from that list the things that are more attainable given your career at this given time. This will be your list of goals for the year. I like to have two lists, so that one is more “now” and the other is for “later.” Reason being, it may not be feasible to get your work in the Louvre within a year.
– Put your goal list somewhere visible- maybe on your studio wall? You might even want to make copies of it and put them elsewhere- on the fridge, in your car, your wallet, etc. Sounds silly, but it will keep these ideas in your mind and help you stay on target.
– Now come up with your strategy. On a different piece of paper or your computer, etc., come up with a strategy(ies) to attaining your goals. What are the steps you need to take in order to accomplish goal 1, goal 2, etc.? Be specific.
– Be flexible. You may come upon the end of the year and find that not all of your goals were reached or maybe they weren’t what you expected. Maybe you took all the steps needed and the goal didn’t pan out. It happens. So what can you do about it? Look at what has worked for you and what hasn’t. Get rid of the goals that aren’t the best use of your time and energy and focus on what does work. Make changes or alter your strategies in order to meet goals the second time around. And continue to meet goals that do work well for you. For example, if showing in a particular city has resulted in good sales, you should plan to show there again next year, or maybe more often.
– Prioritize your goals. You may need to accomplish one goal before you can realistically meet another. Or you may find an urgency in accomplishing a particular goal before others.
– Revisit your goals often. Aside from marking off goals as you reach them, you should be reviewing your goals list every few months to stay on track. Bigger decisions such as what worked or didn’t work for your career should be left to the end of the year for a better analysis.
– After analyzing your goals at the end of the year, make your new list for the new year with your accomplishments in mind. Continue to do the things that work. Include goals that were not reached and devise a new strategy to meet them. Remove goals that turned out to not be such a good idea. And, of course, add new goals that you should tackle.
Seems like such a simple concept and many of you may find this silly or unnecessary, but holding yourself accountable is the only way to accomplish something. You’d be amazed how 15 years can go by without making any real progression in your career, if you do the same thing day in and day out.
I was inspired to post a poll question on Facebook after a few recent requests for prints. As of now, I do not have prints available and have always been iffy on the subject. The inquiries and sales of my work have all been original paintings, which is my own personal preference since I have an art collection myself. However, I have to ask:
What do you prefer to own? A large print (let’s say 11″ x 14″) or a small painting (we’ll use my paintings as an example, the smallest being 5″ x 5″)? Or would you rather save for a large painting you’ve had your eye on? I’d love to get as much feedback as possible to get a more accurate account.
I recently did an interview with Michael Rakov for the Russian arts magazine, “My Moleskine.” I’m happy to announce that the interview is now online- in Russian, of course- http://www.mymoleskine.ru/2011/08/okorok-ili-grudinka/. I can say that trying translations through Google and Yahoo Babel Fish produced different results, each being a bit off. So, I do have the original interview in English to post here (minus the introduction written by Mr. Rakov, since I don’t have that in English):
1. How did you start making art? Maybe there are any funny stories that were associated with it? Tell us about it.
I started drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon. On occasion I would be allowed to use more “advanced” (which also meant messy) art supplies such as oil pastels. I was fascinated by their richness and the colors produced. I would draw all the time and literally produced so many drawings my mother had to throw some of them out. I would go through an entire package of typing paper in a week. As I got older, I was interested in other media such as graphite, pen and ink, and charcoal. My work became more detailed so I utilized more pen and ink and sometimes charcoal pencils since they allowed for more precision than sticks of charcoal.
As a child, I was always creating through various means, so it was something that came to me naturally. I knew even at a young age that I wanted to be an artist professionally one day. I was about eight years old when I decided that my “job” would be to paint for museums, not realizing that museums do not actually pay you to paint all day and then just stick your work on their walls. By the time I was in college, I decided that I needed to study graphic design and work in the more commercial realm of art. I, like many artists, believed that it was impossible to earn a living as an artist unless you worked in the design field. I did this for over eleven years, but eventually I could not deny my initial desire to paint. I started reading anything I could find regarding running a business, marketing, sales, etc. I devised a plan to reach my goals and followed a timeline to keep myself on target which is how I became a full-time artist. I think about art constantly- from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep- I think of paintings that I’m working on, or paintings that I will do in the future, or I’m thinking about exhibitions I have coming up. It’s a lot of work, but I love what I do.
2. What is the basic idea in your works? May be there is philosophy or anything like that? For example, Impressionists wanted to stop impression of moment this was them basic idea. What do you want to tell people with your work?
I tend to work in series, so that each is a collective body of work pertaining to a particular subject matter. That being said, each series serves as a platform for tackling social or political issues. Some series are broad in scope, while others hone in on one issue. Art is my way of communicating with the world, raising questions, and presenting ideas. Though I can’t tell people what to do, I hope that my work will at least inspire them or encourage them to reflect on what they can do to help make a difference in the world.
3. Your creativity looks like Surrealism, Am I right? But Surrealism is play of senses, meanings etc. What meanings do you play with?
Yes, I have been influenced by Surrealism from a very young age. In addition to art, psychology was another interest of mine so I gravitated to Surrealism quite naturally since it was the grand marriage of the two. My style has become progressively more surreal, and I am always looking to challenge myself both technically and conceptually. As a result, with my latest series “In Our Veins,” I have been working with ideas that come from my dreams and free-association exercises, which were both utilized by the original Surrealists.
“In Our Veins” explores the connections between all life forms and the cycle of life through a surreal, psychologically-charged narrative. Many of the concepts included in the series deal with life and death, survival and the exploitation of other species for one’s own survival, the connections between all life forms, and the delicate balance of nature. This includes the interdependence of the human race to each other and to the rest of the animal kingdom, as well as the planet itself. One cannot exist without the other, therefore it is of the utmost importance that we care for each and every living thing.
4. What day was the most crazy of your life? What were you doing during that day?
Well, if this is art-related, I do have one story. I was working on a rather complex painting in hopes of including it in an exhibition I had coming up. The painting took me longer than expected, so the day before I had to bring my work to the gallery, I was still working on it. As the hours wore on, I started to realize I was going to have to stay up to finish. I was exhausted, so I drank two Diet Cokes (which I never have caffeine, so these had a strong effect on me) in order to stay awake and paint until 3am. Then I went to sleep for about four hours, got up and finished the painting a matter of hours before going to the gallery. Luckily they are acrylic, which dries quickly. My paintbrushes were in horrible shape by the time I finished.
5. Do you do sketches? If you do, What kind of notebooks or special paper do you prefer for that?
I do a lot of thumbnail sketches, which are roughly 1-inch square sketches giving the basic idea of a concept with just a few lines and shapes, no detail. I tend to do these types of sketches as an idea comes to mind, so some of them are done on scraps of paper, while others are in a journal or a standard sketchbook. I will sketch on anything in order to remember my ideas at the time. When I do larger sketches, I like to use newsprint paper because it’s cheap and also tracing paper. The tracing paper is useful because I sometimes only want to change one thing in my sketch, so I trace what I’ve already drawn, minus the part I want to change. Then I can compare the two and see what I like best. Sometimes I may have to draw the same sketch three or four more times because of all the changes.